When Tracie P and I sat down for dinner at Bufalina in Austin on Friday night, it was as if we communicated telepathically: without uttering a word, we both knew that we were going to order the 2010 Slatnik by Radikon, a wine by Stanko Radikon’s son, Saša.
A lot of Italian wine bloggers have talked about how Saša’s wines are more “easy going” and perhaps more approachable — less tannic and more affordable — than his father’s wines.
But I found this wine to be one of the most elegant and thoughtful that I’ve ever tasted from this farm — a winery and winemakers for whom I have a quasi religious reverence.
Its stone fruit flavor was brilliant, its acidity popping, and its tannin laid back. But ensemble, all of these elements sang together to convey a gorgeous balance. In some ways, I thought, it represents the evolution of macerated wine, which can tend to be austere and aggressively tannic in its youth.
We really, really loved it. And we were thrilled to share a glass with another couple who were nonplussed by its color.
We ordered three pizzas: the classic Margherita, the creative Taleggio (below), and the whacky Brussels Sprouts (above), which was topped with surprisingly subtle serrano-scallion pesto, ham, and Brussels sprouts.
Many pizza purists can’t see beyond the Margherita cannon. And they don’t know what they’re missing.
Pizza, by its very nature, should also be creative. As my friend Tony always says, “to be authentic, Italian cooking must also be creative.” We loved all three dressings.
Like so many things in the U.S., most gauge a pizza’s quality by the toppings. But pizza is the crust, the pie, the dough…
I taste so much pizza across the U.S. and have eaten in many of the cutting-edge Neapolitan pizzerias in the country.
Bufalina owner Steven Dilley’s pizza is in my top five: perfectly soggy in the middle and with an outer crust that never becomes too chewy or heavy, always in perfect balance with the center (this last element, the cohesiveness — the “oneness” of the crust — is so important imho).
And Steven’s list continues to stand apart as my number-one wine list in Austin.
I wrote about his wine revolution when we visited about six months ago (the night before Lila Jane was born!). And more recently, when I visited with one of the most famous wine writers in the world, said wine writer noted approvingly that he had reviewed every one of Steven’s by-the-glasses in his column (we drank Foradori Manzoni Bianco that night).
Has Steven’s groovy wine list caught on in Austin? From what he told me, some of his go-to distributors have been gravitating toward Houston where they find buyers more receptive to their “esoteric” labels. The Slatnik had been on the list for a few months, he said, and we were the first to order it.
After dinner, we headed to the über cool Violet Crowne theater where we saw American Hustle paired with cocktails.
I sure am going to miss this town once we make our move eastward…
Thanks again to Mrs. and Rev. B for babysitting and for letting us sleep in the next day!